As a photographer and friend of a lot of artsy people, I have quite a collection of photographs and artwork from the past few years and haven’t really had room to hang it all up. Since I just moved into my new apartment, I was really excited to have such a huge, empty wall in my living room to work with. So I set out to create a gallery wall! A gallery wall is basically just a large wall with lots of pieces of artwork instead of just one or two pieces. I wanted my wall to be a little cohesive and since I love traveling so much (and have a ton of photographs from my travels), I decided to make it travel themed (with lots of Scandinavian inspiration since I’m a tad obsessed).
I’m really happy with how my gallery wall turned out, so I decided to create a post with tips I’ve learned for anyone else who wants to create a gallery wall!
Tip #1: Decide what kind of gallery wall you want
Do you want it neat and orderly with all the frames matching, or do you want it more whimsical? Or do you want a gallery wall of objects instead of pictures, like Found in Philadelphia’s silver tray gallery wall? Since I already had a lot of artwork to work with and it didn’t match, I went with a more whimsical theme with lots of different types of frames and sizes. You can also switch up the shape of frames or add 3D objects to add some variety. I only had a round clock to add a different shape to mine, but I’m looking for more pieces to add!
I also wanted my wall to be a little cohesive, so I didn’t choose too many different colored frames. I stuck with white and black with a few hot pink frames for my less colorful prints, and I mostly had 4×6 and 5×7 prints with a couple bigger ones to stand out.
InteriorsPL has a great graphic with different types of layouts!
Tip #2: Collect your artwork and plan it out before you start hanging things up
Since I knew ahead of time that I would have a huge wall to work with, I started compiling the photographs and artwork that I wanted to use. I also found a ton of cute travel-themed printables to add to it (I have the links for you at the bottom!). Collecting everything will give you an idea of how spaced out everything will be and exactly what direction you want to take your gallery wall!
My wall is so big that it was hard to photograph it all!
Tip #3: You don’t need fancy, expensive frames
Since you’ll be using a lot of artwork for a gallery wall, the cost of frames can add up. Unless you want a fancy, elegant wall, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on frames. Other than the pieces I already had framed, I got all my picture frames from Walmart and Ikea! (You can get 4×6 frames in different colors from Ikea for only 99 cents!).
I also got most things printed on matte paper from Walgreens, and they have good prices and sales all the time!
Tip #4: Lay it out
Once you have everything you want to use, create a layout and plan on how you want everything hung up. Lushome has some good tips on the ratio and spacing, and I’ve seen a few posts where people cut out the shapes of their frames on paper and stick them to the wall to really get the layout perfect (Found in Philadelphia has a great example of it).
Tip #5: Have back up plans and solutions
I actually didn’t plan a layout because I didn’t want my to be too neat and orderly and because nailing into my wall was one of the worst experiences ever! Luckily, I was prepared for this because I had hung up some photographs in my hallway beforehand and had the same frustrating experience. Since I knew my wall would be a pain to nail into, I didn’t create a perfect layout because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick to it. I don’t know what is behind the plaster on my wall, but nails would only go into very specific spots. Even half a centimeter made a difference for whether or not the nail would go in!
I destroyed a ton of nails, so make sure you have extra and be prepared to get a little creative!
Tip #6: Hang the bigger pieces up first
Like I said in my previous tip, nails would only go into certain spots with no rhyme or reason. I wanted to make sure my heavier pieces were secure with nails, so I made sure to hang them up first to find the spots where the nails would go in. And any extra holes I made (I made a TON!), I could cover up with the smaller pieces. Since I couldn’t use nails on every spot on the wall (and because I destroyed most of my nails) I used two Command Strips on all my 4×6 frames, and so far they’ve stayed up fine!
Hanging up the larger pieces also helps with spacing so you don’t have to move things around halfway through hanging everything up.
Can you spy all my Scandinavian pieces? 😉
Tip #7: Leave some wiggle room
Since I’m always taking pictures and have plans to travel more, I left a lot of space so I can add pictures in the future. If you leave some extra space, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of redoing your gallery wall!
All finished! 🙂
It probably took me about an hour and a half to complete my gallery wall by myself (though I suggest having help to make sure everything is straight!), and I’m excited to add more pieces! For more tips and examples of gallery walls, check out Tidbits & Twine, Lushome, Found in Philadelphia, Live Laugh Rowe, and Patch of Earth.
As promised, here are more pictures of my apartment and some of the free printables I used! 🙂
Can you spy Annika? 😉
I got this awesome antique mirror from Room for Love on 17th and Pine!
I’m really enjoying my new apartment! 🙂 If anyone wants moving or decorating tips or wants to know where I got any furnishings, let me know! (Craiglist is a lifesaver!)
Websites for Travel Printables:
Bonus! Websites for Kitchen Printables:
If you’re interested in any of my photographs, contact me! (I also have an Etsy shop and a Facebook page where I sell custom prints and products). If you have any questions about my gallery wall or apartment, comment below! 🙂